Natural selection is predicted to favor females that can detect risks of desiccation and predation when choosing among temporary pools for oviposition. Pool size may serve both as a cue for desiccation risk and as a predictor for future colonization by predators or for the probability of present, undetected predators. Therefore, oviposition responses to pool size are expected to interact with the presence of predators that can be detected. We measured oviposition by two mosquito species, Culiseta longiareolata and Culex laticinctus, in a mesocosm experiment, crossing two pool surface sizes with presence or absence of the hemipteran predator, Notonecta maculata, which is chemically detectable by mosquitoes. Both mosquito species strongly avoided Notonecta pools. Using a mechanistic statistical model, we accounted for the higher encounter rate of females with larger pools, and determined their true oviposition preferences for pool size. C. laticinctus showed a clear preference for larger pools, but C. longiareolata, a species with larvae more vulnerable to predation, showed no significant preference for pool size. This study confirms the importance of risk of predation in explaining oviposition patterns, and suggests a possible inter-specific variation in the trade-off between predation and desiccation risks.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- desiccation risk
- oviposition habitat selection
- predation risk
- temporary pools
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology